As a way of mainstreaming older persons into the 2030 agenda for sustainable development goals (SDGs), the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs has so far built the capacity of 120 elderly Nigerians in four zones of the country.
The training, according to the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Bashir Nura Alkali, will enable them to manage their own businesses after retirement.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the economic empowerment programme, which held on Wednesday in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary represented by Director Human Resources, Abdulrahman Jabi, said the aim of the programme is to impact the necessary skills that will engage older persons to live meaningful life at their retirement age and still contribute to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
Alkali said: “However, even as the country is faced with the challenge of scare resources and poor or limited social welfare programmes, nevertheless, the government needs to play its role of prioritizing the needs of its ageing population.
“There is no doubt that the goals articulated in the National Policy on Ageing, would help reduce economic vulnerability amongst older persons when the implementation process begins as it covers multidimensional aspects of welfare.”
He urged state governments and other stakeholders to recognise and support older persons as the active agents of societal development in order to achieve true transformative, inclusive and sustainable development, he added.
Director, Social Welfare Department Dr. Dorathy Nwodo, the economic empowerment programme for the elderly aims to make old persons not only to be financially independence after retirement, it will also help them connect socially.
“They are going to be trained on skills that they can do at home without much stress. They are going to be taught bead making, honey making (beekeeping), detergent (soap) making, perfumery, and social farming. These are skills we want to impact to the elderly so they can be economically independent while they age gracefully.
According to her, the Abuja training would bring to 150 the number of old persons that will be economically empowered by the ministry.
“After the training, the ministry will give them seed grants to start little. For example, you are going to do soap making, we give you a seed grant of N30, 000. It is something to .make you busy and you can still earn little money from it to take care of yourself.
“N30, 000 is the start grant, and when we do assessment in the next one year, and if you know you are doing well, we can give you more,”
In his goodwill message a resource person, Dr. Michael Egbuta said the empowerment programme is a show of love by the ministry to the elderly.
According to him, wherever you are, you will have a means of livelihood.
“The little knowledge you acquire from here, go home, apply it and you will come back and thank the ministry, he urged elderly persons present.